PEATS Slovakia – Medieval Monastery

Site change and date change to be confirmed for 2021. It will still be the same town and accommodation, but the group would be working on the Medieval monastery site in the town instead, mentioned briefly below.

Number of UK Participants: 7 + 1 Accompanying Person (minimum 2 drivers)
Duration: 32 days

PEATS Application form

Basic Accommodation: Room sharing in a chalet at the Kingfisher centre, Sahy

Meals: self catering

Communication: Wifi is available in the main centre building

Transport: A van is made available to the group to get to and from site and for local travel, so some participants will need to have a drivers licence and are expected to share the driving. Public transport is available for excursions.

Weather: Warmer than the UK, can be between 25-35 degrees C but be prepared for rain.


The Slovak/Hungarian border town of Sahy has been the location for Grampus archaeology placements since 2001. The initial focus of these excavations was the medieval monastery, where participants have gained invaluable experience of excavating a site with complex stratigraphy and where several medieval burials have been discovered, recorded and excavated.

The focus of the placement then changed to a Bronze-Age site on the outskirts of the town, when in 2006, a German contractor began construction of a clothing factory. During these works in the eastern area, a prehistoric settlement was disturbed and a trench for a gas pipeline uncovered a charcoal rich spread. As a result, our partners in Slovakia therefore moved the focus of the excavations from the monastery to the investigation of this incredibly important site.

The site is named Na Vrsku, which means “mound” and is located on a rise on the outskirts of Sahy that is well defended by natural terrain. The river Ipel lies to the west of the site, which is also where the sharp precipice that makes up part of the sites defence. To the north and south of the site are much larger hills which also have archaeological evidence of activity dating to the Bronze Age.

Fieldwork has been undertaken at the site, situated part way down the slope, since 2006 and has so far revealed industrial and domestic deposits. The site has so far been rich in finds, which include decorated pottery in a style that has identified the site as belonging to the Hatvan Culture. There have also been ceramic animal figurines found on the site, as well as spindles, whet stones, shells and bone.

In 2011, a survey was done of the top of the hill which revealed a circular enclosure (Green Village report above in ‘related downloads’). This was then excavated and in 2013, pottery was recovered that dated the enclosure to the Baden Culture, and then later to the Hatvan culture. It is this enclosure site that the group will be excavating this season as well as the other targets to be confirmed by the excavation team. Finds from the 2016-2018 seasons included a blade, more animal figurines and incomplete casting moulds. A geophysical survey undertaken in 2018 revealed the presence of more than 300 pits to the north of the hilltop enclosure. A small evaluation excavation which followed confirmed these to be storage pits (see 2018 geophysical survey and summary reports in ‘associated downloads’). The 2019 excavation season will continue work at Na Vrsku, where there is still much to learn. It is a fantastic opportunity to develop archaeological fieldwork skills and would be of particular relevance to applicants with an interest in prehistory (Neolithic & Bronze Age).

Students will be working with the site director, Tibor Palinkas, who works for the Museum in Sahy, as well as staff and students from the University of Bratislava. You will also be in contact with Ida Wollent, who is the partner at the Ipel Union.

Accommodation and Transport

Students will be staying in a self-catering house chalet at the Kingfisher Centre about 10minutes drive from the town of Sahy. The town has shops and bars as well as a restaurant and a bar that has public computers. Transport will be provided in the form of a mini van which you will have use of in the evenings and weekends for short journeys and to use to get to site, so some participants need to have a clean UK drivers licence. Excursions further a field may need to be done using public transport, which the host will help the group with.

The weather in the past has been very hot, but site has been rained off as well, so come prepared for both rain and sunshine and make sure there is plenty of drinking water to hand. Suncream and insect repellent are needed as well. It is strongly suggested that participants buy in drinking water.


Weekends are free so the group can go around and see some of Slovakia. Previous trips and activities that groups have been on include: Sturovo, Bratislava, Budapest, cave visits, castle festival, Ipelsky Sokolecs Goulash festival. With the use of the van and the public transport links, it is advised that the group get out and about as much as possible.

As with most archaeological sites, expect a degree of physical work. As with all our placements, participants are joining partner excavations. These are not UK led excavations. The group will be learning different methods and techniques that are used for this particular site, so must expect differences in how the site is run.

The Funding

The Erasmus + funding will cover accommodation, insurance, supervision, food, provision of the minivan and return flights.

If you are interested in this placement, then the application form is available to download on the PEATS main page.

For past participants feedback, refer to the Participants Reports page


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.